Guatemalan president's divorce halted by court

Sunday, April 3, 2011

President Colom in 2010

The divorce of Guatemalan president Álvaro Colom and first lady Sandra Torres has been halted by a court after Torres said that she was divorcing her husband so she can run for president in the next election. The Guatemalan constitution bans the president's close relatives standing for office.

A petition was taken to the court by a group of students, claiming the divorce is a "farce" that would bypass the constitution. Otto Perez Molina, the main opposition candidate, called the divorce electoral fraud. As first lady Torres has played a big role in politics during the presidency.

Mildred Roca, the judge overseeing the couple's divorce hearing, reported receiving a threatening anonymous telephone call against granting the divorce. The caller described himself as from a "group defending the constitution". During the call he threatened to execute her family should the divorce be granted.

President Colom has been married twice before and the first couple have been together for eight years.